Asakusa to Asakusa

Asakusa to Asakusa
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

“Can you do me a favour, friend? How does this machine work?”

“Thank you! Where you from?”

“Ah, I spend 10 years learning your language. Welcome to china”

“This is china?” (I have walked to Ueno, nearest big park – is this an argued over zone?)

“China, Japan. You been to china?”

“Yes. Beijing.”

“Ah, you have fun there. Is cheap!”

“I am looking for a woman. Do you know where I can find a woman?”

Is this happening to everyone? That’s two days in a row that I’ve had illuminating conversations that I’d seek to file under ‘too much information’. I find myself nodding at locals, especially when out on a run, but am now wondering whether they see me and have a mental process along the lines of “runner – gaijin runner. Oh, he is looking for acknowledgment, probably another sex tourist”.

Large red temple with huge sloping roof

Transfer day for me. I’ve just been talking to a Dutch bloke about planning, glad to hear that someone else feels they spend much of their time sorting out what they’re doing next. It was all very well booking a hostel for the first two nights and planning to sort out more once I’d got there, but of course the first night goes as a rest from travel and then you have to book. I ended up moving to another hostel in Asakusa, the other side of the river. I scoped it out first off, in the drizzle, paused to consider curry lunch and was then tempted in by the owner, leafleting a little further along-my moving on hot me a free drink at least.

Low bench, made of the words: Gedai Taito Sumda Sightseeing Art Project
Arty bench by the river.

The main sight here is the Senso-Ji temple, to which I strolled on my first day, but I’m now nearer. To that and shops etc-I think the other side of the river is more residential, though it isn’t much of a walk from anywhere. Tokyo is so jam packed that although the whole place is huge, you get a great sense of progress if following a map. Fifth left will come up quickly, roads being so close together. That fact means google and the open source map only show a few road names, but I’ve managed so far-finding the park was very easy, and I finished a book as the light disappeared around 7. I was back for a run, finally getting to explore the river path. It is long, but there are a few blockages where you have to go back up and over the road, the path not continuing under a bridge. Look up and you have skyscrapers, along the path photographers to start with, and then some tents, or tarpaulins. Permanent enough that they have their bikes parked outside and one had several bottles of water by the entrance. Going back the other side the story was the same, only without the photographers (so a different story, then) and there were more people sleeping properly rough. Around 9 by now, but if you’re up with the sun and have no electricity, I guess that is a good time to be asleep. Sad, even if 30degree heat in the dark means no exposure.

Steps leading down to the riverside promenade, a tour boat is moored
I sat watching the river buses.

Running: 1:03:43, 12.6km. The 405 garmin has a limited selection of cities from which to select a time zone. Could I find one to match Khabarovsk? A small pleasure of Tokyo has been setting the thing to the right time and zone.

Very Japanese. Shiny lorry, tiny car truck thing
Very Japanese. Shiny lorry, tiny car truck thing.

“I was barefoot, wearing a Mickey Mouse nightshirt and a pair of Jockey string bikinis, and I could have cared less” I’m a big fan of American language structure and the way it simplifies things. But that particular saying is just stupid. If you could have cared less, then you cared to some extent, which detracts from the insouciance, doesn’t it?

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